21 April 2012
Born, bred and educated under the auspices of SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party), Usu Boie Kamara gained his civil service appointment in Sierra Leone as a mining engineer in 1972, and subsequently rose to the post of Director of Mines in 2008.
He is now interested in charting his way to the top of Sierra Leone’s politics, despite losing his SLPP presidential candidacy battle.
But his activities in the ministry of mines, especially in relation to how he enriched himself, during the period 1972-2008, must be an issue that deserves a thorough examination as he position himself as an innocent and ‘clean’ politician at the forthcoming elections.
Usu Boie’s rise amongst the rank and file at the ministry of mines, especially under the Kabba led SLPP government, could not be separated from his Mandingo tribal patronage.
So for Boi to now turn around, after losing his SLPP presidential candidacy bid to Maada Bio and then accuse the SLPP party of tribalism – is not only disingenuous but paradoxical.
It is observed that the old politics of Sierra Leone, where some of the northern-based minority tribes, use the tribal card as and when convenient, still exist in the country.
In fact, history shows that politicians belonging to some of these northern-based minority tribes are guilty of using tribalism to consolidate whatever position of power and trust they occupy in the country.
For instance, politicians of Limba tribal origin used the infamous ‘Ekutay’ (the Limba power club) during the Momoh led APC government to consolidate and abuse exclusive power. While the Mandingo tribe also subversively played a similar tribal card in the Tejan Kabba led SLPP government.
Clearly, with president Koroma now in power – the Loko-Limba tribes are exclusively consolidating and abusing their stronghold on power.
Although there are several things wrong today with the politics of Sierra Leone, what is really damaging the country is wanton greed. Nobody wants to concede defeat in politics, because of financial kickbacks associated with power and control of resources.
Just a year ago, Usu Boie addressed the nation as though he is the sole anointed statesman of Sierra Leone. Yet, as it is with 98% of Sierra Leoneans today, Boie was born in poverty, educated through public scholarships.
There the similarities end. He later became filthy rich by corrupt means at the ministry of mines.
It is this ill-gotten wealth, which he now intends to use to buy his way to the top of political power in Sierra Leone and to continue his corruption in government. Boie and those like him, must know that Sierra Leoneans will no more bow to the vices of politicians of their ilk.
Boie has further compounded an already complex situation, by availing himself to blackmailing and exploitation by the Koroma-led corrupt APC (All People’s Congress) government.
Had Boie committed himself to staying with the SLPP party, after losing the presidential candidacy election to Bio, he could have been perceived by the people as a true statesman in the making.
His decision to grudgingly leave the SLPP is now being seriously exploited by the ruling APC party, especially his corrupt past at the ministry of mines – to his own detriment.
The dilemma now facing Boie Kamara is that should he decide to stay with the opposition SLPP, there is the likelihood the Koroma-led APC government will indict him for corruption, possibly convict and send him to prison.
If, on the other hand, Boie defects to the APC, then he is sure to lose his political dream of becoming the president of Sierra Leone.
So what’s next for Boie Kamara? Will Boie indeed declare for APC on Independence – 27 April, as planned?
As Boie is motivated by greed in accusing SLPP of tribalism, so also is he tempted by corruption in forming an alliance with the APC.
But whichever political direction he takes, what is certain is that an elected SLPP government will firmly commit itself to people-oriented governance and tackling of all forms of corruption.
That Usu Boie felt marginalized because he did not succeed in exploiting the weaknesses of SLPP’s management system, speaks volumes.
In fact such management weaknesses are not unique to SLPP alone. The most fundamental weakness facing all political party institutions in Sierra Leone is the manner in which they are financed.
Depending on the mandatory fees paid by contending candidates for major party positions – such as flagbearership, with little or no interest in carrying out proper background checks on each candidate is a serious problem.
This is to say that the politics of Sierra Leone today is tied to wealth, and not to the ability to deliver results.
After years of corruption in the private sector, Ernest Bai Koroma – the current president, used his illegally amassed wealth to fight his way into the flagbearership of the APC party and to eventually become the president of Sierra Leone.
Thus, the question then is not about who is not corrupt in Sierra Leone, but about who has the courage to genuinely fight and put an end to corruption in Sierra Leone. Usu Boie certainly does not meet that test.
All eyes are now on the Bio led SLPP to ensure that APC is not only unseated at the ballot box, but will put in place policies and programmes that will uplift the people of Sierra Leone from abject poverty and economic decay – once elected.